Public enterprise Mostar Parking, headed by the favorite of the city mayor Mario Kordić (HDZ BiH), Ivan Barbarić, has published an invitation to tender worth 50.000 for the services of modernization and improvement of the parking payment system – lease and maintenance of a software platform to support the business processes of the parking service, fee collection and control of hourly parking tickets via SMS service and webpay service.
By: Hercegovina info
The invitation clearly shows that the tender is fixed for the IT company “Lanaco” from Banja Luka, managed by Nebojša Ninić who is one of the SNSD’s founder and reputed to be a person close to the president of that party, Milorad Dodik, receiving multimillion-dollar tenders from public institutions in the RS.
Mostar Parking, which is managed by HDZ BiH, had a direct agreement worth BAM 6.000 with Lanaco, and now it is literally tailoring the tender to suit the company.
This allegation is confirmed by the requested certificates, such as ISO 20000, ISO 27001, ISO 22301, ISO 22237 and ISO 25010, which are not clearly related to the subject of procurement, and refer to the lease and maintenance of the software solution that Lanaco has. Furthermore, the procurement tender also asks for eight experts, although it is a job worth 50 thousand, and not 5 million marks.
Namely, the tender documents require that the bidder has at least eight experts, each with precisely defined conditions in terms of experience and certifications. This rigidity directly violates the provisions of the Public Procurement Law (PPL) and is in direct contradiction with Article 44, paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 because it is not proportionate to the subject of public procurement, limits competition and jeopardizes the general principles laid down in Article 3 of the PPL according to which contracting authority must treat all bidders equally, non-discriminatingly, in a way to ensure active and fair competition, aimed at most-efficient use of public funds with respect to the purpose and the subject of the procurement”, said a company that was interested in this invitation for hercegovina.info.
This procurement was duly planned and published in the 2023 Procurement Plan from January 31, 2023 (Attachment 1), and the estimated value of these services was set at BAM 35.000, whereat the tentative date to start the procurement procedure was set for July 13, 2023. This item (Attachment 2) was modified on October 27, 2023 and the estimated value was increased to BAM 50.000, and the tentative date to start the procedure was moved to October 10, 2023.
Portal Pratimo tendere detected several risks in this procurement
“At least 3 risks for potential abuses can be identified through analysis of this procurement. The first risk is related to the bid evaluation criterion, because the most economically advantageous bid was selected as the criterion, while the sub-criteria are distributed in a way that 70% of the scores are given for the price, and even 30% for the delivery time, so it may happen that the winner becomes one who has offered a significantly higher price due to the speed of delivery. Another risk is associated with the qualification requirements, namely with technical and professional ability where various experts, certificates and experiences are listed, and this is actually very often used to favor desired bidders. The third risk is associated with the technical specification, where every little thing can mean discrimination against the bidder. Certainly, we will have a complete picture concerning this procurement procedure once it ends and when we have information about the number of offers received, possible complaints, etc.”, said Slobodan Golubović, editor of the PratimoTendere.ba Portal.
Procuring services, but listing goods
As some well-informed sources have shared with us, the new public procurement procedure for the modernization of the parking charging system in Mostar is abounded with serious unlawfulness due to deficiencies in the tender documentation. The key objections are directed towards limitation of the competition.
“One of the key problems lies in the inconsistency concerning the type of the contract. Although it is clear that it is about the procurement of services, point 2.6 of the technical documentation (TD) specifies a contract for the public procurement of goods. This disagreement raises a question about acceptability of the documentation, given that the type of contract affects the conditions that the contracting authority can set in terms of the bidder’s technical and professional abilities. Furthermore, the requirements related to technical and professional abilities are especially dubious.
The existing item for the public procurement of services was amended with amendments to the Public Procurement Plan of October 27, 2023 and now reads – lease of services for modernization and improvement of the parking charging system through an open procedure for a period of 24 months, in the amount of BAM 50.000 without VAT. Article 53, paragraph 1 of the Public Procurement Law stipulates that the contracting authority is obliged to prepare tender documents in compliance with the Law and the implementing regulations. In the tender documents, the contracting authority provides comprehensive information about the contract conditions and award procedures sufficient for the tenderers to prepare their requests to participate on a genuinely competitive basis.
According to the aforementioned, the contracting authority did not provide complete information on the terms of the contract and the award procedure, because it is obvious that the procedure in question is about procurement of services, and in point 2.6 of the TD the contracting authority has specified the type of contract as a contract for the public procurement of goods. This is very important as the conditions that the contracting authority may require in terms of technical and professional ability depend on the type of contract.”
The certificates are an entirely separate matter
Likewise, the requested certificates, such as ISO 20000, ISO 27001, ISO 22301, ISO 22237 and ISO 25010, are not clearly related to the subject of procurement, which is the lease and maintenance of the software solution. It raises a question about the necessity of such requirements in the context of this procurement. Those more knowledgeable claim that the key link to Lanac is certificate 22237, which is used to target the one who will win the job, said a source of Hercegovina.info from the IT sector in Herzegovina, who is well versed in the processes of such procurements. They even forgot to proofread the text, which was written in the Serbian language, when they copy-pasted it, meaning that someone had sent them parts that the invitation should have in the Serbian language.
Additionally, the unlawfulness emanates from the way the bid price is expressed. Contrary to the provisions of the TD, the contracting authority made it possible to express the offered price as a percentage of the total amount charged for parking services via SMS and WebPay services. This is not only contrary to the technical documentation, but also to the provisions of the Public Procurement Law that require a clear expression of the price in convertible marks.
The director of Mostar Parking connected with Lanac when the system of Mostar Parking in Mostar crashed, without a public invitation – by direct agreement.
When asked why MO Parking decided to entrust Lanac with the job when the public call was not published, Barbarić said on the radio.
“The business with Lanac was done according to the Public Procurement Law and was done by direct agreement, it is a clear and clean situation”.
He said that the value of the job was BAM 6. 000.
“Very simple, yes. As for the references themselves, it is easy to go to the company’s website and see how many programmers they have, how many people do that job every day, and with how many cities they already cooperate, so in that context we have looked for the best, and therefore the business assessment was that the software will help the citizens of Mostar and provide even simpler options for payment of parking fees,” said Barbarić.
Mostar Parking did not answer the questions whether the invitation was fixed for the IT company “Lanaco” from Banja Luka?, Why is the invitation asking for eight experts, although it is a job worth 50 thousand, not 5 million marks?, Why was the value of the job subsequently increased to 50 thousand marks?, Are the certificates ISO 20000, ISO 27001, ISO 22301, ISO 22237 and ISO 25010 clearly related to the subject of procurement or are they requested only because Lanaco has them?
They have sent, as every time so far, a general and imprecise answer.
“Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph (1), item u) of the Public Procurement Law, all information related to the procedure in question can be found on the public procurement portal, which represents an information system as a channel for enabling electronic communication, publication of documents and conduct of the public procurement procedure electronically. The tender documentation requested for the public invitation indicated in your email inquiry contains a minimum of clear and appropriate information in relation to the chosen contract award procedure, and procurement notice, invitation to submit requests, technical specifications, qualification criteria and the criteria for the selection of the most favorable offer, essential elements of the contract and other relevant information and explanations can be easily found and identified. We thank you for the submitted inquiry and we thank you for the interest in the work of the Company”, said Mostar Parking, this time trying to be ironic, but still in the Croatian language, unlike the invitation which is a combination of the Croatian language and “the language of certificates”.
We sent inquiries to the Lanaco regarding the procurement in question, but did not receive any answer by the time the text was published.